Businesses and community venues in North Yorkshire are being urged to create welcoming environments for breastfeeding mothers.

The Breastfeeding Friendly Venues Award (BFV), developed by North Yorkshire Council, has been granted to 76 businesses and venues in the county.

The venues receive stickers and posters to show that they are part of the scheme, and are listed on the council's website.

The initiative is part of Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which began on August 1.

In North Yorkshire, 51 per cent of babies were partially or fully breastfed at six to eight weeks, above the national average of 49 per cent.

However, many mothers are concerned about breastfeeding in public spaces.

North Yorkshire Council's executive member for health and adult services, Cllr Michael Harrison, said: “We know mums have the legal right to breastfeed anywhere, but many do not feel confident in doing so. The BFV award aims to make it easier for breastfeeding mums to recognise where they will be welcomed in North Yorkshire."

To qualify, venues must actively welcome mothers and babies, allowing breastfeeding in customer areas.

Lucy Stockdale, who uses Selby Library to breastfeed her daughter, Molly, described her experience breastfeeding in public as initially difficult and awkward, expressing gratitude for private venues.

She said: “It’s really nice that there are venues like this where you can have a little bit of privacy rather than having to feed on a park bench in public."

North Yorkshire Council's executive member for children and families, Cllr Janet Sanderson, said: “It is important to us that mothers have positive experiences of breastfeeding when using public facilities in North Yorkshire and that’s why the Breastfeeding Friendly Venues awards scheme is really important in our efforts to make the county as breastfeeding friendly as possible.”

Gareth and Sarah Sewell, owners of Crazy Kingdom indoor play in Northallerton, welcome nursing mothers at their venue and would encourage more businesses to sign up.

Mrs Sewell said: “I know how difficult it is for mums to find anywhere indoors to feed their baby.

“My staff and I are not only friendly, but very welcoming towards nursing mums. My staff will always offer a glass of water to a mum breastfeeding her child."